Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Explore Detroit - J #atozchallenge

Come along with me and explore the beauty & general awesomeness of Detroit, A to Z !

Today seems to be all about the legendary boxer, Joe Louis!  While born in Alabama, his family moved to Detroit when he was 12.  You can read all about his life & career on his Wikipedia page.  It's pretty interesting.  
(5/13/1914 - 4/12/1981)
Fun fact - the park at the end of my street, River Bends, used to be the home of Spring Hill Farm - a riding stable - when Joe Louis's manager bought it to use as a training camp 1939 - 1945.   Spring Hill Farm also had ties to the Underground RailRoad. 

Moving on. 

We have the "Monument to Joe Louis" aka the Joe Louis Fist.  It is located in hart Plaza, dedicated in 1986 for the Detroit Institute of Arts' 100th anniversary.  It's 24 feet long and weighs 4 tons.

It was commissioned by Sports Illustrated Magazine to commemorate boxer Joe Louis's 1st round knock out punch to Max Schmeling in 1938 - (a German...and this fight took place right before WWII began - you get the point). It a symbolic "battering ram" to racial injustice and faces Canada represent the US fighting for democracy outside of its borders during World War II.    
 (taken in June, 2009 with a baby Miss Angela)
Lots of questions about this - why not a statue of ALL of him?  This technically could be anyone's fist.  What makes this *Joe's*?  And he was a boxer, why no boxing glove??  And why aim it at Canada?  They are nice people - they gave us Tim Horton's!
Randy, also in June 2009

Next, because we're talking about Hockeytown here - the home of the Detroit Red Wings 
Joe Louis Arena
1979 - 2017
Sadly is scheduled to be demolished beginning next month and the area redeveloped, supposedly for a new 30 story hotel. 
 Randy & I went to HockeyFest in 2009, so I have some cool pics.  I am ashamed to admit I have only attended  ** 1 ** actual Red Wings game in my life (SO FAR!!!)
Sitting on the bench
Rally Al sat above the stairs in the first pic during the playoffs.  
He's been collecting dust the last 2 years. 

Veering off topic for a minute.  What's up with The Red Wings & the octopus?? 
The Legend of the Octopus
There are few traditions in sports that compare to those in the game of hockey.  One such tradition is the throwing of octopi onto the ice at Red Wings' games.  Ever wonder how it started?

The octopus first made its appearance on April 15, 1952, during the Red Wings' Stanley Cup playoff run.

Two Detroit brothers, Pete & Jerry Cusimano - storeowners in Detroit's Eastern Market - threw the eight-legged cephalopod on the ice at Olympia Stadium.  Each tentacle of the octopus was symbolic of a win in the playoffs.  Back then, the NHL boasted only six teams and eight wins (two best-of-seven series) were needed to win the Stanley Cup.  The Red Wings swept the series that year, and the Octopus has come to be the good luck charm ever since. 

The tradition carried over to the Joe Louis Arena on opening night in 1979 when several made their way onto the ice. 

During the 1995 playoffs, Bob Dubisky and Larry Shotwell, co-workers at a meat and seafood retail company near Detroit, tossed a 38-pound octopus onto the ice during the National Anthem prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  The year after, the duo struck again with a 50-pounder in the Conference Finals.  Although the feat received no airtime on the nationally broadcast game, the octopus was proudly displayed on the hood of the Zamboni between periods. 
Al Sobotka
Building operations manager for Olymipa Entertainment, but also has driven the Zamboni for the Red Wings for over 30 years.  His job also includes taking care of any and all octopi thrown on the ice. 



Leave a note - they make me feel loved!